Scientists at Oxford University say their experimental coronavirus vaccine has been shown in an early trial to prompt a protective immune response in hundreds of people who got the shot.
“Even 2 billion doses may not be enough,” he said, underlining the importance of having multiple shots to combat the coronavirus.
“There was a hope that if we had a vaccine quickly enough, we could put out the pandemic,” Hill said, noting the continuing surge of infections globally. “I think it’s going to be very difficult to control this pandemic without a vaccine.”
Numerous countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, US and the UK have all signed deals to receive hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine — which has not yet been licensed — with the first deliveries scheduled for the fall. British politicians have promised that if the shot proves effective, Britons will be the first to get it.
Last week, American researchers announced that the first COVID-19 vaccine tested there boosted people’s immune systems just as scientists had hoped and the shots will now enter the final phase of testing. That vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna, produced the molecules key to blocking infection in volunteers who got it, at levels comparable to people who survived a COVID-19 infection.
About a dozen different experimental vaccines are in early stages of human testing or poised to start, mostly in China, the US and Europe, with dozens more in earlier stages of development.
British officials said Monday they had also signed a deal to buy 90 million doses of experimental COVID-19 vaccines being developed by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and others.
In a statement, the British government said it had secured access to a vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, in addition to another experimental vaccine researched by Valneva.